Thursday, March 31, 2005

While the Coffee is cooling...

I need to get to work (today: identifying ants), but while my coffee is cooling sufficiently that I may chug it (Brasilians do not walk around eating or drinking), some more round ups of Today's Papers for those of you who, for some reason, find it instructive to come here rather than go to my near-exclusive source yourself.

March 30:

I hope for the best for the Iraqis, but doubts as to the effectiveness of the elite, confusingly-elected, featuring former CIA assets Iraqi Congress seem to be being born out:
"The LAT and NYT front the Iraqi national assembly again meeting and again breaking up without naming a government. With Kurdish and Shiite leaders still fighting over control of ministries and no Sunnis biting on the ceremonial leadership positions, the meeting degenerated within minutes into a shouting session. Then officials told the media to skedaddle. At that, says the Post, the local stations that had been carrying the meeting live dutifully switched to an Iraqi singer belting out, "My Homeland, My Homeland."

More importantly, the next paragraph in Today's Papers says:
"In a Page One piece, the NYT says flight records match up nearly perfectly with the recollections of a Canadian engineer, Maher Arar, who says he was grabbed by U.S. officials, tossed on a plane, and sent to Syria, where he was tortured. "I think that's it," he said, looking at a photo of the jet. "I think you've found the plane that took me.""

I haven't yet weighed in (in this forum) on the Terri Schiavo national inappropriate event, and am not going to now (but feel free to see some of my Slate Fray posts before I post them here), but surely extraordinary extralegal KIDNAPPING AND TORTURING of people warrants a BIT more attention than it's currently getting? People are dying in our prisons, many as a result of illegal practices, and other people are having their lives disrupted, if not ruined, by random and unjustifiable kidnapping. Let's not argue relative importance -- LET'S JUST AGREE THIS IS IMPORTANT TOO, AND GET SOME REAL PUBLIC OUTRAGE ABOUT IT. We don't have a nice, peaceful hospice to demonstrate in front of (note the sardonic tone here), but we need to get on this issue some more (unless, of course, there's a whole lot being said and done about it in the US that I'm missing here in Brasil -- which is entirely possible, but not very likely given that the US news comapanies get a horrible case of hives just THINKING about covering dissent in a meaningful way.)

Sigh. Next paragraph in TP: more rendition.
"The LAT fronts the case of a Yemeni who apparently faced reserve-rendition: He was somehow nabbed off the streets in Egypt in 2002—after which his family didn't hear from him for 19 months—and then turned up at a U.S. prison in Afghanistan. According to his latest letter, he's now at Gitmo."

In other March 30 news, "former Republican senator and recent ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth, goes after his own party, big-time: The GOP "has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement." ("Big-time" link added by yours truly.)

My best wishes of course also go out to Indonesia, and all others in the region suffering from the recent quake and of course the still-continuing tragedy of the tsunami (I encourage any and all readers -- and non-readers, too for that matter -- to continue to be involved with the tsunami as much as possible; an Indian friend recommended the Isha Foundation's Rural Rejuvenation project, from a previously established Indian NGO that thus already has cultural roots in the communities, and is also targeted towards building and rebuilding a sustainable, just, healthy, and quality way of life for rural Indians through long-term holistic work; as was pointed out at the time of the tsunami and now has been promptly forgotten, the emergency aid to the tsunami was no more important, if not less important, than sustained, attentive aid continuing during the rebuilding phase. So go to Rural Rejuvenation and read; if after reading you like, give...)

Much more on many more topics can and should be said (not least of which: TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF AIR AMERICA'S UNFILTERED! BOOOOOO! But kudos to Rachel & Chuck D for putting out the news on our ever-more-destructive shadow Dem leader, Bill Clinton, who's becoming "our finest Republican ex-president," having encouraged Kerry to stay away from endorsing gay marriage (actually, he encouraged JFK to publicly denounce it), having lost Dem seats in Congress and in governorships during his terms, and having encouraged the Dems to keep quiet on the Terri Schiavo inappropriate public event -- and of course, Kudos to all of Unfiltered for the months of informative, lively, entertaining, and highly useful debate and commentary I've enjoyed -- I'll miss you Rachel, Chuck, and of course, Lizz!)

But really now, seriously, the time has come, the walrus said, to go count and identify ant species....

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